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0105_001E A Strange Disappearance Anna Katharine Green

A Bit Of Calico

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The fourth day to my infinite chagrin, I was sick and could not go with him. All I could do was to wrap myself in blankets and sit in my window from which I had the satisfaction of viewing him start as I supposed upon his usual course. The rest of the day was employed in a long, dull waiting for his return, only relieved by casual glimpses of Mrs. Daniels' troubled face as she appeared at one window or another of the old-fashioned mansion before me. She seemed, too, to be unusually restless, opening the windows and looking out with forlorn cranings of her neck as if she too were watching for her master. Indeed I have no doubt from what I afterwards learned, that she was in a state of constant suspense during these days. Her frequent appearance at the station house, where she in vain sought for some news of the girl in whose fate she was so absorbed, confirmed this. Only the day before I gave myself up to my unreserved espionage of Mr. Blake, she had had an interview with Mr. Gryce in which she had let fall her apprehensions that the girl was dead, and asked whether if that were the case, the police would be likely to come into a knowledge of the fact. Upon being assured that if she had not been privately made way with, there was every chance in their favor, she had grown a little calmer, but before going away had so far forgotten herself as to intimate that if some result was not reached before another fortnight had elapsed, she should take the matter into her own hands and--She did not say what she would do, but her looks were of a very menacing character. It was no wonder, then, that her countenance bore marks of the keenest anxiety as she trod the halls of that dim old mansion, with its dusky corners rich with bronzes and the glimmering shine of ancient brocades, breathing suggestions of loss and wrong; or bent her wrinkled forehead to gaze from the windows for the coming of one whose footsteps were ever delayed. She happened to be looking out, when after a longer stroll than usual the master of the house returned. As he made his appearance at the corner, I saw her hurriedly withdraw her head and hide herself behind the curtain, from which position she watched him as with tired steps and somewhat dejected mien, he passed up the steps and entered the house. Not till the door closed upon him, did she venture to issue forth and with a hurried movement shut the blinds and disappear. This anxiety on her part redoubled mine, and thankful enough was I when on the next day I found myself well enough to renew my operations. To ferret out this mystery, if mystery it was,--I still found myself forced to admit the possibility of there being none--had now become the one ambition of my life; and all because it was not only an unusually blind one, but of a nature that involved danger to my position as detective, I entered upon it with a zest rare even to me who love my work and all it involves with an undivided passion.

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A Strange Disappearance
Anna Katharine Green

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